Skip to main content

Reflection after Black Mountain and Umstead Marathon

A day after Umstead Marathon, I was stranded at CLT due to flight cancellations and delays. It is only going to be a short trip - which is even shorter now - to renew my work visa. Without my laptop and so much time to burn, I browsed through and caught up in my reading of Runner’s World, Backpackers, and Outdoor. Time didn’t look interesting. I didn’t see the New Yorker. Then, the Harvard Business Journal caught my eyes with bright yellow letters: Work vs Life. While I am sad that we compartmentalize work and consider the rest of our lives outside of, I admit that I struggle with the same thing. We all know the looming fear of Monday after an epic weekend spent with friends, on trails, in a cabin, by the fire, up in the mountains. And when Monday eventually comes…

In the article, Harvard business students survey over 4,000 executives in regards to their work/life balance and draw conclusions from almost five years' worth of interviews. The key to such balance? Make deliberate choices. And the first choice you have to make is to define your own success.
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:8)
The Apostle Paul’s success is found in knowing Christ. After all, “Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.” There are many means to this end, whether at work or at play. This has me revisiting my definition of success in life, work, and play (read: running).

After not being able to run much in both January and February due to shin and calf issues, I miraculously ran two marathons on back-to-back weekends. These two marathons wouldn't be considered as a success a couple months ago when I was running better without hinderance and injuries. But for now, they are great successes because (1) I plodded through them. (2) I got to spent several hours enjoying the beautiful trails with great company, and also some much needed solitude at times. (3) I am thankful and am mindful that running is a gift. Despite how I feel about my “performance,” I couldn’t help but speculate that God considers these greater success than my other PRs when I neglected all the above.

Sometimes I think God takes away things from us for a good reason, namely for our well-being and character that matter more than our desires. My desire might be becoming faster, but that’s an elusive goal. What often follows is I overtrain, I don’t rest enough, and I end up with injuries that set me back. As frustrating as it sounds, sometimes I'm also thankful about it. It reminds me that speed doesn't last. It wakes me up from building my life around running. It rescues me from letting running be my idol. It onces again teaches me that running for me is about becoming a better person, a better employee, a better friend, not just a better/faster runner. Obviously, I, not God, inflict these injuries on myself, but I often find healing when I finally let my desires and pride go. Do I still want to gain speed? Yes! But I want to do it with the right heart and a humble spirit.

At any rate, I had a lot of fun the past two weekends. I don't know what this season holds, but I'm looking forward to every adventure that God brings me on, the people I get to share the journey with, and the lesson He wants to teach me.


Popular posts from this blog


Three days after my first 50 miler, the OSS/CIA 50M held at Prince William Forest Park, my legs are feeling great while my body is still catching up in recovery. The funny thing is, even though I ran almost twice the distance of a marathon, I felt much better than how I was after my last two road marathons. The slower pace and the softness of trails is much more forgiving than the hard pounding on asphalt/concrete. I was even able to run a couple easy miles to test my legs yesterday.
The OSS/CIA 50M Night Run by Athletic Equation was held at Prince William Forest Park in Dumries, VA, about 1.5 hour north of Richmond. Two things lured me into signing up for my first miler: One is obviously to get at least one 50-miler in before my attempt at the WV Trilogy this fall. Two is the location of the run. The Park is the birth place of OSS, the predecessor to CIA in the 1930s. On the brink of war, U.S. intelligence operations needed a centralized effort. In response to the need, a team of un…

24 Things about Hinson Lake 24-Hr Ultra

Here are things that went through my mind during the 24-hour run, somewhat chronologically:
"I get a decal, a glass, and a shirt!?" "Where's Peter?" Peter came the night before and set up camps. Sometimes I think he's gifted with 48 hours a day."Wow. People actually do plan to run the whole duration.""Mt. Hinson?" There's a section of the course with a slight incline. I'm sure it's a fitting name at some point approaching 100 miles. I didn't give myself a chance to find out."Haha" - upon hearing someone telling Sharon and I that we are on pace for women's 24-Hour American Record at mile 3."Maybe I should switch to my hybrid shoes." And I did. After the first 13 miles, I switched from my Altra road shoes to the Inov-8 TerraFly for a little more tread."25.84 miles? Eh, so close." 17 laps on the 1.52-mile loop - not quite a marathon."30.4 miles? Eh, another lap to make it a 50k."&q…

WV Trilogy - Part 1

My experience at WV Trilogy is unimaginable. It wasn't just the run or the scenery, though both are spectacular - but more so my journey before and during the run, the emotions, the learning, and the tremendous love and support I get from friends and family. The last three days are not only a running adventure, but an opportunity of personal growth and defining moments which will outlast adrenaline or results.

Each of the journal entry is written after the run on each day. I want to share it chronologically and hopefully could take you through my experience as I have experience it.

(Thurs) Oct 11 at 8:19 pm - 
In my dorm room, in bed. I'm still nervous about my shin splints and calf pain. Both legs were hurting this afternoon. There's nothing much I could at this point but just take everything as it is - pain, race, outcome... My job tomorrow is to simply show up and do what I can. I'm praying to open my heart and mind to whatever God has for me and remember that I'…